Thursday, August 31, 2006

Hope Larson

Can't not mention Hope Larson. Her latest graphic novel is Gray Horses.

Meg Hunt

The sketches alone will leave you tingling.

Bad Lounge Jokes

These are terrible jokes I wanted to try out when Tigris Euphrates and I were DJing some of the more inauspicious night spots in Denver. You may have read about our show in Westword back in '02. But you sure as hell didn't come see our gigs. No one did. I don't know what these jokes would have given our show. We didn't speak much and when we did it was usually to tell the few passers by who stumbled into our scene that last call was in ten minutes. I think the hope was that if things really got moving we'd be able to expand from lo-fi lounge and exotica to a comedy schtick. Don't ask. (We did have a rather nice troupe of burlesque dancers at one gig, though.)


So a skeleton walks into a bar and says, “give me a cocktail and give me a mop.”


A termite walks into a bar and asks, “is the bar tender here?”


Tigris, how many real men does it take to change a light bulb?
None, real men aren’t afraid of the dark.


Tigris, where do you find a no-legged dog?
Right where you left him.


Why are there so many Johnsons in the phone book?
They all have phones.


Hey Tigris, I got a part in a play as the husband?
Too bad it wasn’t a speaking role.


My wife said lets go out and have some fun tonight,
Sure, I said, but if you get home first leave the hall light on.

Lost Cut Up

Nothing more entertaining or humbling than going through old documents (most of mine are on floppy discs and essentially lost to time) but there are a few on CD. This goes back to 2001 and I vaguely remember writing it in a delirium. It's a cut up poem (a la Burroughs). There are some nice bits here. For bored readers only.

Carnage visors

The couplers are moving amidst windowpanes caught reflecting
The gaseousness of carnage inspectors ; we are all familiar
Hands drawn from the pointed beaks of the rosary
Hands drawn from the breaks of the pointed rosary
Hands pointed by the drawn beaks of the rosary
Hands rosy from the pointed breaks of the drawn
No feeling by the wayside ; you are driving too fast
Round corners that flip us sincerely worry and melt
That new edition ; a big consumption is coming upon us
Not breathing this time just being cool in the sun
Not sunning this time just being breathe in the cool
Not cooling this breath just sunning the time
Not timing this sun just cooling in the breath
We all feel the virus of language and baggage of the tides
The movement is not sincere it turns us towards the wayside
The edition is no longer new ; we don’t need more art
Not in my pool and not in this hot weather
Not in my hot pool and not in this land of couplers

Southpaw bat (carnage visors redux)

The couplers are beaks of the rosary
Hands drawn are from the breaks of the pointed rosary
Hands the no longer carnage driving moving amidst windowpanes caught reflecting
The gaseousness feel the virus inspectors ; we are all familiar
Hands drawn from pointed by of you of language and baggage of the tides
The pointed breaks being cool in the sun
Not sunning this time movement is not consumption is coming upon us
Not breathing this time just that in the breath
We all the drawn it of the flip us sincerely worry and melt
That new edition ; a the the pointed too just being fast
Round corners sun just cooling rosary
Hands of the not in by rosy from; new ; we don’t need more art
Not in my pool and of this hot weather
Not in my hot pool and turns us towards the wayside
The edition is not in this land drawn
Not timing this sincere beaks wayside big breathe in the cool
Not cooling this breath just sunning the time
No feeling couplers

Cold drawn water from the source

White is the side of the sky tonight
Like the instances when we feel the stars twinkle in bowels
The twinkling that makes the skin peel back to perform
Peeling back is necessary it makes art that much more
Tactile in the presence of common denominators
Remember covering, clothing, converting, codependence
Just look at how we sail these potential weaknesses

Greatest Video Ever?

The Twin's were (actually still are) a German synth pop band in the Depeche Mode-mode. Their early sound was Camoflage with a bit of OMD sound-scaping bluster. "Face to Face- Heart to Heart" was a huge hit (it was played during the last Winter Olympics when the countries were walking the stadium -- can't recall with country was blessesd with it) though The Twin's later output wound up sounding more italo than new wave. But this video is like a chem lab Forbidden Zone -- two jocks trapped in a basement with some out of work lab techs? or maybe Howard Jones' back up band (sans mime)? -- and is simply stunning in it's mind numbing simplicity. The keyboard playing makes cracking eggs look difficult and how many times do we need that montage of their "twinned" faces? The rawker drum stick toss is priceless...

Same Old Madness

Rare as all get out old skool Ministry clip of "Same Old Madness" a never released song. This is from '82-'83, back when the band was tearing up Chicago as the latest sound. While "With Sympathy" is a nice slice of dark-ish electro pop it didn't capture the driving edge evident here. If only Al back pushed in this direction...

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Only the Dead Get Off at Kymlinge Part 1

While working on my piece about urban exploration for Geek
(due out Sept.) I interviewed the Multidysfunctional Monkey a Swedish urbex-er. He's got a sweet site here with photos of his exporations. I had a lot of fun talking with him. Here's an excerpt from our conversation with more to follow:

I asked about "urban legends" in the UE community. I was riffing on the whole C.H.U.D. thing.


"This story dates back to the days of the 1970s and the abandoned train station of Kymlinge (in Sweden). I say abandoned but it was actually never put to use. The station was put up as there were plans to build a lot of industrial buildings around it and someone figured it would be good to have another station. But for some reason the industries never happened and the station was never put to use. The trains never stopped at Kymlinge and I guess it became known as something of ghost-station in everyday conversation. But the thing that really got the talk going was the ghost-train (!).

At some point in the mid 1970s people started to report sightings of a strange train that only traveled around a night. It looked a bit like the regular trains but was the colour of silver. This train obviously became something of a ghost-train with time and was rumored to be the only train that ever stopped at Kymlinge. "Only the dead get of at Kymlinge station" was the word on the street. However, nowadays the story of the silver ghost-train has been explained time and time again.

The ghost-train was actually a set of 8 prototype train carts (a type that was called "C5"). There were only 8 of them produced as it turned out the train carts would be too costly to use. The train was known as "The Silver Arrow" and is now a ghost of the past."

Friday, August 25, 2006


Danielle De Picciotto - an American currently living in Berlin - creates illustrations/graphics/photos of a bizarre neon soaked nightlife. Cowboys, tattooed burlesque dancers, a wide assortment of odd animals stuck in taxidermic epiphany - a true carnival of 20th century oddity and sparkle.

7" Up

Crippled Dick Hot Wax's latest release - continuing their progression away from '60s/'70s Eurotrash soundtracks - is this collection of 7" singles by British new wave/no wave/post-punk bands. Some excellent stuff on here. Particularly Thomas Leer's home made first single - one of first DIY "hits."

Here's the info from the Crippled home page

Mark Beer
Here‘s an example of an artist with precious few releases to his name. With a sustained mood of tranquillity, musically Mark Beer has more affinity with the Young Marble Giants and their follow-up projects than with the din that otherwise pervaded the sceptred isle. On his third single ”Pretty“ he would seem to have been inspired by reggae singles, where he recorded the basic melody with the bass and put an even groovier dub version of the title piece on the B-side. On his only LP “Dust On The Road”, such flights into the more atmospheric reaches did not always quite come off but his early singles will be fondly remembered well into the future.

Glaxo Babies
At the end of the ’70s the Glaxo Babies, together with Rip, Rig + Panic, The Pop Group and Pigbag, were one of the most significant bands in Bristol. As Gerard Langley from the Blue Aeroplanes recalls: ”I think the key to the whole set-up at the time is comprehending the importance of the Glaxo Babies. The Glaxo Babies‘ performance at the 1978 Ashton Court Festival has lived long in many people’s memory. The intensity! The dyed-blond hair! The guitar played with a vibrator! Subsequent journalistic takes have seen The Pop Group placed at the centre of that era but I remember it differently. For me, the Glaxos were the cornerstone of the whole Bristol scene. Both sophisticated and primitive, they were basically pre post-punk punk. The Gang Of Four didn’t come as the shock of the new round here, mate. I had read that Iggy Pop cut himself with a glass, but it was different seeing Rob Chapman do it immediately in front of you at the Stonehouse pub. They were real, man, and I loved them.“...until, that is, reality caught up with them in 1981 when the pharmaceutical company Glaxo forced them to part with their name. Which they did, and re-formed as Maximum Joy.

The Manchester-based Object label provides illuminating material for the study of the ”ten people have eight bands“ phenomenon. Tony Friel was with Nuclear Angel, then formed The Fall with Mark E. Smith, then The Passage with Dick Watts, and then was involved with Teardrop Explodes. And Duncan Prestbury‘s list follows similar lines: Steve Miro & The Eyes, Spherical Objects, Future Primitives, Warriors. The ”Future/Past“ 7“ was their one and only release.

I Jog & the Tracksuits
It‘s bands like this that lend this compilation its special appeal. Internet forums are filled with fans filing desperate calls for help, fans who at some time have heard these singles,
or even possess them, but have no idea who‘s behind them. Nothing can be found out about them, except that another 7“ exists. Who knows anything more?

Gerry & the Holograms
As with I Jog & The Tracksuits, there‘s another 7“ besides this one, but as it‘s glued into the cover, it cannot be played. Who knows more than our London source? „I’m pretty sure I have one or two singles by them, 1980, probably from Sheffield 79-80 ... not at home so I can’t check! I think the chorus on the single goes ‚we’re gerry and the holograms’ in an electronic vocodered voice.“ Heard once and by dint of the splendid refrain stored for eternity.

Brian Brain
Restlessness is another character trait that marks out many a musician, and Martin Atkins must surely be restlessness personified – and this to the present day.
Mynd was the band he started off with, before being snatched away first by John Lydon (ex-Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols) for the latter‘s Public Image Ltd. Then disagreements arose and soon afterwards Atkins left the band, formed Brian Brain with Pete Jones and in 1980 they rapidly released their first singles and an LP. In 1982 they both joined Public Image (PIL) again, which would mark the beginning of the end of this mutual project. While Jones stayed with Lydon, Atkins was wooed away by Killing Joke in 1988. After stopping off for a while with Ministry and Nine Inch Nails, he got together with such illustrious comrades-in-arms as Steve Albini and Trent Reznor to found the industrial supergroup Pigface in 1991. At the same time he worked on the side with Skinny Puppy‘s Nivek Ogre on the Rx project. And this is but a brief sample of Atkins‘ projects. Today he teaches The Business of Touring at Chicago‘s Columbia College, as well as having several other projects on the go in addition to Pigface.

They Must Be Russians
„They Must Be Russians“ was the headline in Britain‘s yellow press in reaction to the Sex Pistols‘ single ”God Save The Queen“. This quote was of course handing it on a plate to all the bands on the look-out for a suitable name. One of at least two They Must Be Russians came from Sheffield: this band‘s leading figures called themselves Russ Russian and Paul Russian and were quite well known at the time. Cabaret Voltaire helped to produce the first EP ”Nellie The Elephant“, which was then followed by ”Don‘t Try To Cure Yourself“ – if it‘s a dose of VD you‘ve got, that is.

There can be no talk of The Moondogs without mention of The Undertones at the same time. Both bands come from Northern Ireland, both share a predilection for the mod groups of the ’60s, and, highly regarded by John Peel, both were repeatedly invited to sessions. The Moondogs again and again came very close to the group they modelled themselves upon: they had their first gig just five months after being formed as a warm-up group for The Undertones. The Kinks‘ Ray Davies was so taken with The Moondogs that he offered to produce ”Imposter“. In the end they followed in the footsteps of The Monkees and were given their own TV show entitled ”Moondogs Matinee“. The title track ”Powerpop“ made it clear what musical pigeon-hole they felt at home in. After recordings made with Todd Rundgren, however, the band then disintegrated.

Thomas Leer
The fact that Thomas Leer recorded his début single ”Private Plane“ with the most basic of equipment in his bedroom at home was destined not just to impress The The‘s Matt Johnson and inspire him to form a band of his own. Today we also know that this song from 1978, together with The Normal‘s ”Leatherette“ and Robert Rental‘s ”Double Heart“, constituted the first releases of the synthpop wave that would not reach its peak until some years later. And should you be wondering why his voice on this recording sounds so whispered... Quite simple: when he recorded the vocals, his girlfriend was asleep in bed near him and he didn‘t want to wake her up.

Cult Figures
Just how Cult Figures came into existence is another nice example of that laid-back, Do-It-Yourself approach at that time. Gary Jones and Jonny Hodgson got to know each other at an art course that Epic Soundtracks and Richard Earl of Swell Maps were also attending. Jonny was already playing with the Scent Organs, and both bands had already scored some considerable successes. Encouraged by the mood of ”everybody‘s got a band and is having fun“, Gary, without further do and together with Tim Wilday, another friend from the art course, formed a band himself: the Cult Figures. The small fact that neither could play an instrument was not to be an obstacle. Jonny begged The Jam‘s drummer Rick Buckler to give him some drumsticks while Gary, having paid a neighbour £20 for a guitar and an amplifier, learnt how to cobble a song together in next to no time with a minimum of barré fingerings. Taken with their first results, the Swell Maps offered to play as backing group at recording sessions as well as to release a 7” on the newly formed Rather label.

Monochrome Set
Are there days when Bid perhaps wonders what might have become of him if he had followed Lester, Andy and Adam, his former fellow musicians with The B-Sides, and started Adam & The Ants? We at least can breathe a sigh of relief: he didn‘t. Lester Square and Andy Warren soon came to their senses, left and joined up with Bid to form Monochrome Set. And it can be of little importance to us today that they never experienced the classic fate of those beloved of the critics. Their excursions to major labels were short-lived, their glamour after all being a touch too subtle for that snow-sprinkled society. What we have left are a handful of high-quality records and the band The Scarlet‘s Well, the new form of expression for Bid‘s richly ornamented escapism. And what would have become of him if, faithful to his aristocratic Indian descent, he had opted for a life at court? And that‘s not an uninteresting question, either...

Henry Badowski
After frustration caused him to give up on his art studies, Henry Badowski was persuaded by friend James Stevenson to join Chelsea, surely one of the very first punk bands. ”It wasn‘t exactly my sort of music,“ he would later say – a fact evidenced by his subsequent career. Although he had a decisive influence on punk in that he played in many of the very earliest bands – such as Chelsea, Wreckless Eric, Alternative TV, Captain Sensible and The Damned – he was never able to endure it for long. Until he finally brought out his first single. And the title track ”Making Love With My Wife“ finds him recording all the instruments himself, too. ”Life Is A Grand...“ is another outstanding record that he produced just like that, yet it was not sufficiently commercial for the record company‘s liking.

The Young Marble Giants were unquestionably one of the most influential and memorable bands of the period. After just one LP and two singles they subdivided into two equally impressive groups: guitarist Stuart Moxham set up The Gist, while singer Alison Statton founded Weekend along with fellow musicians who had experience in jazz. Indie had hardly been invented before Weekend began jettisoning the dogmatism that came with it. The insubstantial ease that had already characterized YMG is further underscored with a waft of bossa nova. Regrettably, aside from a handful of singles and EPs, they only released one LP. It just remains a mystery why they are not accorded recognition today.

No Style Like Mo' Style

Thursday, August 24, 2006


Finished Theodore Roszak’s Flicker last night (about ten years later than I should have) and couldn’t sleep. I lay there in the darkness and as my eyes adjusted the little light that crept in beneath the curtains gave me chills. Flicker exudes a creepiness that’s hard to place. There are no shocks in the book. No scenes of violence outside those in the films discussed. But there is this constant and nearly overwhelming sense of dread. It’s a foreboding that I think must be at the heart of all conspiratorial fevers. Like being in the head of the guys who craft those little ‘zines about the New World Order and the Intelligentsia that line left-field bookshops. I can’t for the life of me imagine how Darren Aronofsky is going to make this thing. Or better yet how Jim Uhls is going to translate that almost existential creep.

The novel is about a film geek turned professor obsessed with the work of a ‘30s director named Max Castle (orig. Kastell) who’s work may lead to the obliteration of all life on Earth.

If you’ve read Flicker you’ll be familiar with the Simon Dunkel (a stuttering albino film prodigy (and follower of Max Castle – I’m trying not to spoil anything here) and member of a baleful sect) Sewer Babies flick. The film’s a low-budget horror film about sad fetuses living in sewers. As the main character, Jon, explains, it’s a “quiet descent into absolute despair.” The one line in the novel that has haunted me since I read it is Simon’s explanation of the sewer babies themselves. They were “mewling, grublike embryos” and a “remarkable screen effect.” When Jon asks Simon how he made them his response still sends my gut twisting:

“I couldn’t make out what they really were. Obviously not costumed actors; their diminutive size ruled that out. Nor were they animations; they were far too organically mobile… I asked Simon what they were…”

“G-guess,” he challenged me.

“Some sort of puppet…?”

He gave a dismissive smirk. “You c-can’t guess?”

“No, I can’t.”

“N-n-nobody will,” he answered smugly. “It t-took a long time to grow them,” he added, but would say no more."

Pirates of Coney Island

Rick Spears' Teenagers from Mars has remained a consistently entertaining romp. His next project with hot shot artist Vasilis Lolos is The Pirates of Coney Island. To say I’m psyched by this preview is an understatement. A fever dream of Tank Girl toasting Mad Dog with The Warriors at a Midget Submarines concert.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Line You Can Cross Again and Again

Totally obsessed with Lansing-Dreiden's "A Line You Can Cross". The album sparkles improbably. Brilliant. But this song in particular transports me to age 10, dad's truck, dead of winter, 1985. The sun is setting over the mountains. The clouds are wisps of orange and pink. The truck zooming over the frozen highway. Ice crystals form in the plumes of my breath against the glass of the cab. AM beauty.


The first issue of Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie's Phonogram is out (Image Comics, Inc.) and it's every bit as slippery as you expect if you've read what's on their site. Any comic that starts with the lines: "…image is the first dogma of the Faustian process – but I'm all too at home with that" is bound to get under some people's skin. Gillen certainly isn't shy about flaunting – hell, flaying – his hipster vocabulary. The comic is packed with phrases like "post-Britpop" and quotes from the Afghan Wigs. Gillen is obsessed with Kenickie (a four piece from Sunderland, Engerland named after that Grease character. They recorded two albums and then broke up) and it's this obsession that drives the book. He's not just obsessed with the band. He's obsessed with the idea that the music that Kenickie makes changes lives. While Kenickie maybe other-worldly or even Godly for Gillen, all music has some sort of hyper-real effect on people in the book. Summarily music is magic. And the characters reflect that. Literally. They use music – be it post-Britpop or feminist folk – as magic. It's a fantasy, see.

A great idea. Gillen doesn't play up any of the potential scientific edges. He doesn't go for harmonics or the enchantment of melody. It's simple enjoyment of what Gillen considers fine music that allows his characters to interact with a hidden world behind ours – post Dick-ian to be sure. And they don't use this magic to fly around or stop bank robberies or defeat Bush. (It would be cool to see a magnus with a boom box blasting Tindersticks to magically stop terrorists.) Gillen's cast settles for trying to get laid and invoking some sort of earth goddess. (I'm still not clear on that point.)

Gillen's clever and crafty. His writing is sparse, intellectual. Never dull. Every now and then he gets caught up in too much meta-fictional blabber but you can identify with his characters. McKelvie's art is fantastic. Simple but very expressive. Almost like if Bashki rotoscoped a Williamsburg nightspot. Hot women with mascara and tats. Slick men with thick framed glasses. Actually, just one guy – David Kohl – who once famously ground up and snorted a Sebadoh LP. Cheers. Looking forward to the next issue.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

False memories

History of a 'zine (circa '02) that never was. More fun than the trouble of actually writing it:


I began RASP out of my parents’ garage in the summer of 1997. I had just finished high school and was prepping for the big move to college when I got a frantic call from Tall Dan. Tall Dan was a local purveyor of curios. He had a shop on Pearl Street and 15th. Right between Wax Trax and the Snake Pit called Shadow’s Gifts. He said he'd stumbled on a few old journals at an estate sale and he thought I might like to have a look at them.

Tall Dan knew I was interested in art brut and lit brut (outsider art and literature made by the insane, the uneducated, the imprisoned, the handicapped) and he knew this cache would really appeal to me. The journals were from a disabled Vietnam vet. A guy named Bill who languished in a nursing home for most of his adult life. Bill wrote about his past. His family. His loves and losses. But the most spectacular bits were Bill's attempts at poetry. I say attempts but I don’t mean to degrade the work – it was fantastic. Very concrete. Very rhythmic. Very obtuse and very, very strange. I took it home and sat at my lap top and took bits and pieces and typeset them, edited them (his spelling was rudimentary at best) and then printed it out. That was the first copy of RASP. Xeroxed and stapled and then distributed on campus. I charged a dollar and sold fifty copies. The next issue, comprised of work mailed in by readers, was published my sophomore year and was distributed nationally at Tower Records. I sold 300 copies of that one.

Most of the work that has appeared in RASP over the years has been commonly referred to as ‘outsider nonfiction." Writing by people who neither consider themselves writers nor have what is commonly referred to as ‘talent’. I’m talking about snippets of writing. Those ephemeral bits of meaningless prose that glut our society: grocery lists, graffiti, instruction manuals, diaries, journals, assignments, memos etc… Let me give you a few examples of what has appeared in RASP.

This first piece is a personal favorite. It is a small poem found on the wall of a urinal in the Cherry Creek Mall in Denver by poet Coolidge Klein. It’s so brilliant I assumed he’d made it up. He assures me he didn’t. This appeared in the March 1998 Land and Cattle Issue:

Public Urinal:
Wreath of

Here’s another example this time from the May 2000 Lift Issue. This is a list of cleaning products for a pool found on a bus by Juan Gilbert, a frequent collaborator with French art-brut artist Percy Revielle. It is entitled “Ox” (I particularly like the ending comedic salvo):

Chlorine shock
Calcium increaser
Black algaecide – 2 prts
Shimmer (spa gloss if abs.)
Go Brom (go go go!)

In my second issue I placed a few of my dear friend Tom Maverick’s record credit pieces. Tom has been obsessed with album credits (the listing of producers, musicians, assistants, etc on the inside sleeves of records) for years and he began, in late 1998, to create some of his own. The people he listed were real - actual producers and musicians - but most of them had never worked together. The whole project was essentially a fan fantasy. But one of the most obscure kind. Here’s an example from the September, 1998 Cuckold Issue:

“respect to gil fornoire produced by nils lodger and technical assistance by roger sherwood no thanks to the punks that stole our shit in detroit the metro thanks to colleen chris cosey larry at burn studios recorded in lakeside at burn studios and in effiel at crash technical assistance on the track burning by jeff green”

Most of what I receive for RASP winds up being published unless it is clearly ‘fictional’ or ‘forced’. (While I consider Tom Maverick’s credit lists to be ‘made up’ they are certainly probable. Tom has done his research. He knows that the people he lists could very well work with each other at some point. That bends the rules a bit but they are some of the ‘zine’s more popular pieces and… the editor rules.)

As most of my readers are aware there is another ‘zine that publishes ‘street ephemera’. Hermexcules is put out by Alfonso Sims a regular in the letters columns of Brutarian and Slex. Alf has a good book. It’s filled with street poetry and homeless fiction but it’s a very academic affair – he is, after all, a PhD candidate at SUNY Stonybook in something called metafiction studies. Your guess is as good as mine.

Lit brut. A quizzical cock-of-the-head is the usual response. It's the misshapen offspring of art brut popularized by the art of the insane.

1945 saw the first public displays by marginalized persons: prisoners, the insane, retarded. All work practiced and produced outside of social norms or what is generally considered to be the establishment. Work produced by people with little or no training. Work produced either for pathological reasons or merely to bide time. The most 'popular' art brut artists are always the most marginalized - once they come crawling out into the spotlight or somehow embrace fame they are no longer brut. Makes sense.

A quick sampling:

Willem van Genk: stuck in a flat in The Hague, rotund. Collects black raincoats and paints detailed and colorful works that resemble graffiti. He will not sell his work, even for outrageous sums of money.

Cesar Villagas: Born in Mexico, now in Detroit. Finger paint and charcoal of skulls and birds.

Andre Robillard: lives in a hospital in Fleury-Les-Aubrais near Orleans. Creates strange tools and weapons and vehicles from flotsam. Has a menagerie.

Stanislaw Zagajewski: lives in Poland. Makes strange sculptures. Very popular.

Louise Bonner: Daughter of Senator Bonner of Florida. Prolific in 1970s making nudes with clay. Rainbows.

Louis Soutter: Swiss 'alien' artist. Black and flat figures.

August Walla: calligrapher, signs and landscapes. Marked his territory with painted creatures.

Paul Masters: African American inner-city prison. Made sculptures with rat bones and dried banana peels.

Carlo Zinelli: block shapes, Italian, all pictorial sentences. Repetition and numbers play a large role in his OCD artwork. It is, for all intents and purposes, communication.

Jean Dubuffet: primitivism and shock and awe.

Gaston Chaissac: rural French

Gabrielle Marzipan: Autistic and blind. Horses with trunks and gas masks.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Casting Stones

And finally...

At the gym today lounging about in the jacuzzi and I see this guy I've dubbed Paul blow drying his pubic hair. I don't know why I've dubbed him Paul but he just looks like that. He's got curly hair. Maybe he's in his earl 40s. Married with kids. Works in finance. Don't know that for sure but he has that financial look about him. Anyway he blow dries his pubic hair and the beans and frank.

It's bizarre to say the least. I mean what's the towel around his waist for? Does he just keep it there out of modesty until he can get his junk under the hot air? Would a quick shake of the towel not suffice? I guess not 'cause Paul spends a good three or four minutes shaking out the water around his jewels and then blasting it with air. What results I've gathered from only a few seconds of looking is essentially an afro. The hair puffs out full on and that's just the way Paul likes it. Or maybe that's the way his wife likes it.

I'm done...

Orange Creme Lectoids

McSweeney's didn't like my review of the Orange Creme Kit Kat -- I assume it wasn't edgy enough. Read it below:

Limited Edition Orange Creme Kit Kat

A review by Rayo Casablanca

The movie The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, circa 1984 or something, is the new dope. It gets named checked at every MC Doom frat party I’ve been to and just last week I made it to 2nd base with a punk rocker who had Hong Kong Cavalier Perfect Tommy’s visage tattooed on her inner left thigh. Heck, hipsters like Wes Anderson end movies with a Buckaroo homage.

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Buckaroo Banzai but there are these evil aliens called Red Lectoids from Planet 10 (judging from their neon grab it’s right near Afrika Bambataa’s Planet Rock) in it. These Lectoid cats are as fake as pleather and so ‘80s they name check Pynchon. They would go absolutely nutty over these Orange Creme Kit Kats.

When you bite into a Kit Kat you have expectations gleaned from many decades of munching on cheap American candies, but these Orange Wafer Kit Kats honestly taste bootlegged. It’s like getting a Go Bot instead of a Transformer. Hershey even spelled cream the effeminate European way to try and engender sophistication. If there has ever been a food stuff assembled in the 8th dimension and somehow, surreptitiously (I found a stack of these in the diary section (!)), planted in convenience stores, it’s these. I’m surprised the wrappers don’t have quotes from The Crying of Lot 49 on them.

Those Stairwell Spaces

My piece on urbex a.k.a. urban exploration will be appearing next month in the first issue of Geek Monthly. I have to admit right off the bat two things: First is that I have never really explored any off limits places outside of the boiler room at my parent's house and an unfortunate (and semi-sober) attic crawl in college. Second is that I am totally obsessed with subterranean places and the spaces beneath our feet.

If you've ever spent time in NYC you are constantly made aware of the fact that there are "things" going on under the city. The subway is obvious but even on the street there are these yawning maws of basement stores and storage rooms that threaten to suck down unwary passersby. When I was sixteen we took this sort of pilgrimage to NYC and spent time on the lower east side wandering around. I took a shit in the filthiest McDonald's bathroom I'd ever been in and watched some crack heads hustle in one of these sub-basement stairwells. Most of these places are blocked by heavy metal doors that you tramp across all day. They are usually rusted and look like something to keep Draculas at bay. On the off chance that one is open you have two choices: A. you can peer into it and hope to catch a glimpse of something or B. you can zoom right by and pray nothing grabs your ankles.

If you take the chance and pause – usually something not recommended in the city – you'll see either an incredibly dull set of concrete stairs or if you're lucky you'll see some covert slice of capitalism taking place. Here's what I've seen or thought I saw (not including the aforementioned crack heads):

A fat guy lugging rice sacks into a storage room
A Divine-esque drag queen in boots with licking red flames talking on a cell about Mondo films
A hairy man slumped over a stack of newspapers
Two women in short skirts smoking
A stray dog – dingo-lite – sniffing through kitty litter
A pile of diapers
Three Japanese men shouting at each other and pointing fingers
A man in a suit enjoying a slice of pepperoni pizza
A woman sitting on a plastic crate of records
A drug deal – hash
A drug deal – coke
A drug deal – meth
A drug deal – grass
A drug deal – some voodoo looking shit
An African man selling art books
Two hipsters in comparing scars
Seven tween boys huddled around an issue of Playboy (March, '86 if I wasn't mistaken)
An elderly man in a rocking chair
A woman braiding a child's hair
Five men and two women of unknown nationality speaking an unknown tongue in hushed tones
A filthy boy in overalls with a Bob Dylan record (Blood on the Tracks)
A female cameraman and a male reporter

Friday, August 18, 2006

Edgy Thai

McSweeney's Internet Tendency accepted a review of Thai noodles I wrote titled "A TASTE OF THAI: COCONUT GINGER NOODLES." Jordan said he liked it. Thing is he asked me to tone it down. Said it was a bit too edgy. Yeah, Thai noodles. The kind you add boiling water to and sit down and eat in your cubicle or on the way to work.

Here's the uncut version:

It says: Real Thai Real Easy. No punctuation. I guess in Thailand they don't use it. Have you ever seen written Thai? Not the transliterated shit, but the real curly-cue crazy script, abugida. It looks like the stuff that teenage girls go crazy with all over their journal covers. Like the font that mid-Western housewives use to make lost cat and yard sale signs. The font that just yells, I’m so wild and crazy it's insane! I think it's called Curlz MT. These noodles taste like a mid-Western housewife would, all cheery (the coconut) and apoplectic (the ginger and something called kaffir lime) at the same time. But it's also hearty, sits with you for a while as if it's staying the night. Clinger, I guess. Man, if Piscine Molitor Patel had some of this on his life boat he could have lasted another 78 days. Oh, right, he was Indian.

My first thought was, oh, they must have misunderstood something. They made the changes for me. Just edited it down. And reading it over it looked fine and all. No biggies. But then I noticed that the last line was missing and that kind of threw me. I could see cutting it 'cause it doesn't make any sense unless you've read LIFE OF PI. Piscine is the main character; the verbose Indian kid stuck on a life raft with a Bengal tiger. During his ordeal he eats lots of raw fish, turtles and the occasional bit of flotsam. I figured (and rightly so) that if he had some of this heavy Thai noodle stuff he'd have lasted a lot longer. I concede it's stupid. But Jordan didn't ask me to cut it 'cause it's stupid. He said it was edgy.

That lead to another thought: why was this edgy? Surely the housewife stuff is edgy. I'm making fun of suburbanites. But he didn't cut that. He wanted the whole LIFE OF PI stuff out. But what was edgy about that? Maybe it was the comment that he was Indian not Thai. And that suggested that he wouldn't have been eating the Thai noodle dish. (On second glance it's not edgy. It's borderline racist.) But when I wrote it the joke was that people get Thais and Indians confused. But that's not funny, either. It certainly doesn't seem edgy. I figured that maybe he didn't realize I was talking about LIFE OF PI. Perhaps he thought I was making fun of some guy I knew.

"Yeah, that old fucker Piscine. That goddamn guy would eat this and feel great for months. Oh, right, he's Indian."

Then I thought that maybe I don't really know what edgy means. Putting edgy into a search engine got me results about the movie eXistenZ and stuff about New York hotels and dishes. The dictionary says it means "being tense" or "having a biting edge." "Oh, right, he was Indian." That does seem a bit tense, doesn't it? But not the kind of edgy I was going for. I wasn't going for the Post Office kind of tense or the meeting-your-girlfriend's-ex-for-the-first-time kind of tense. I was really just going for stupid. And I thought I hit that right on the nose.


de sol